This is what I perceive our political discourse has been reduced to. Maybe it never has been more than that.
I like the author’s conclusion that to keep an open mind, don’t make stuff your “identity.” Yet the instinct of many is just the opposite, so that not religion and party affiliation but even the most trivial things are stated as identity: “I’m a coffee person, not a tea person.” “I’m a dog person, not a cat person,” and other such bizarreness. Why are people seemingly so drawn to identifying themselves as anything at all?
I think identity can have a secondary effect of communicating to others those decisions we've made about what to do.
Someone: What do you do?
Me: I give speeches.
Someone: So you're a speaker?
It can be a way to bundle a bunch of actions/beliefs/etc into something that is quicker/easier to communicate to others. For example, as a speaker, I may write speeches, deliver speeches, book clients, travel to different companies, and other actions.
The challenges may come in the disagreements we have about which actions belong to which identities. For example, a speaker for some may be someone who speaks at corporations and gets paid for it. For others, it may be someone who gives motivational speeches to schools. For others, it may be someone who speaks on YouTube videos. So for each of those groups, they may hear "speaker" and associate different actions/beliefs/etc. and it can lead to conflict. I know I've seen some of this conflict when I tell someone I have created some Wordpress sites, they can immediately jump into "so you're a coder" and I can quickly think "no no, coders are people who create fullstack stuff, I'm just a tinkerer," etc etc.
This is where the benefits of using tools like E-Prime, a form of English language that avoids usage of the verb "to be" help me. Thinking about things in terms of e-prime allows me to realize that while using labels as a shorthand for more specific information is convenient, I lose specificity and precision, and begin to think in terms of identity when I use labels and think/speak in terms of what things are, rather than think in terms of what people or things actually do.
That describes a dog owner which is a much more concrete category than "dog person". Not every "dog person" actually has a dog. Even if you want a dog, your apartment might not allow dogs, or you might not have time/money to care for a dog while working.
You'd think so, but unfortunately, not all dog owners actually care about their dogs.
For many people, language isn't that much about content, but about signaling affection, social bonds, respect etc. (and of course all the opposites). So "how are you" signals "I care for you", though they don't necessearily want/ are able to work with an honest answer - i.e. the moment of asking is the actual content, and words are just the communication channel.
People who work like this have readily available favorite animals and colors and so on because having these answers is important for maintaining fluent conversation, not necessarily because these things are more important to them. This different usage of language also explains why people often complain about something, but don't want to hear solutions from their communication partner: It's more about bonding by sharing the ups and downs of life, not about searching for a new solution.
And in my experience people working like this sometimes are self-conscious about communication, too, but focussing on the level that's elusive to them: Fearing they are dumb, don't know enough about the topic at hand and so on.
That comes off as combative and doesn't make any sense. There's no connection between getting older and losing the ability to have preferences. I answer hot pink because it's true, and because it surprises people who think they know everything about me based on outward appearance.
Btw, 'hot pink' is the correct answer to the "what's your favorite color" question.
If at all. If you subscribe to thinking in identity-terms for optimization benefits, don’t you get a whole host of other heuristics and shortcuts to ‘conscious thought’?
For one thing, ‘uncertainty’ can be reduced. It’s this or that. And politically, you can turn uncertainty into us/them.
Automatically you get many other rules and reasoning,
If the food you eat doesn’t upset your stomach, don’t change—-what more do you need?
Why change, it’s all going to the same place in the end.
Unmoved and impenetrable to argument these shortcuts come with other formative logics.
Having the broader population decide geopolitical relationships, is like telling your doctor which cancer medication you should take.
If you own a dog, you should take your dog for walks because you care about your dog, not because you're a dog person and that's what dog people do. If you drink tea every morning, that's a habit or routine - possibly a caffeine addiction if skipping it gives you withdrawal symptoms. You don't need to identify as a tea person for that routine to be useful to you.
I think both habits and identities can be harmful in politics, but identities are worse. If someone questions your habits, you might stop to think about them, but most people become defensive when someone questions their identity.
There's a big difference between "this political party supports this legislation" and "this issue-focused group is supporting it".
It's putting blinkers on to pretend that legislation is not frequently titled and described in summary terms, which are quite different to the legal, social or physical specifics of what the individual clauses will do and representative organizations provide a very important function by having the time and people on hand to properly understand issues which affect the groups they represent.
If, for example, gay people would be voting on gig worker law propositions based on LGBTQI support organization recommendations and gun right fans would be voting on housing law propositions based on what the NRA recommends, that (to me) seems like a big problem for democracy, as the issues don't get evaluated on their merits but purely on tribalism.
Gay people don't have to, and often don't, vote based on LGBTQI organization recommendations.
However, if LGBTQI organizations believe that LGBTQI people are more impacted by gig work, shouldn't the orgs be speaking on that?
It seems relevant to me. As long as dismissal for being gay is still possible, workers' rights seem to be very much in scope for these organizations.
[To downvoters: What's the point of having an organization, otherwise?]
1. To silence valid criticism & gag public opinion.
2. To take advantage of a splintered population of
insignificant and disorganized clusters and interest groups
& gain legislative / political power.
3. To steer discussion & policy directives toward
boondoggle initiatives so that there is semblance of
progress but very little to show in the way of actual
positive outcomes - outcomes deemed not core to the said
group's world outlook.
4. To bully lawmakers into shaping public policies in the
hopes of creating a moat so big, that it effectively
shields said organization from any incursion, for decades
But often an organisation will have multiple goals, some of which you find more important than others; and they'll evolve their stances over time, to stay relevant in a shifting political climate.
So giving your unwavering, uncritical support to a single organisation is only a little less naive than giving the same support to a single political party.
But I’d agree there are probably domains where the interests don’t really intersect.
For example Props 16 in California wanted to amend the state constitution by removing the article that sated that the state doesn't make any difference between different sexes/colors/sexuality.
Depending on how you place yourself regarding recent identity politics movement, you can be LGBTQI and prefer a state that doesn't discriminate because it's progressive or a state that discriminate because it can enact affirmative action.
Let's agree to disagree on this. I think it is a bad assumption to think that activist organizations actually "represent" the larger associated community. It is much more likely they they are advocating for the ideas of the vocal leadership of the organization and not for the membership or the larger associated community.
But if you do care, like it’s a topic that matters to you, or when you do engage in a political debate, it should be your duty as a citizen to have your own point of view and to be ok to change it whenever needed. If you can’t do that, you are not ready for political discussion or debates.
And it’s totally ok to answer « I don’t know / I don’t care about this topic » when invited to give your point. « Why should I care? » is totally ok if you think there is something.
Just staying moderately up to date with the issues is a full time job, which most people cannot afford to perform alongside their running commitments.
Most people just outsource their thinking on most issues to a shaky trust structure based on moral myths, and feel righteous and enlightened about it.
Not sure about the positive case - I guess if EFF supports something, it is more likely it might be good?
I think there is no easy win here. If you even remotely care about an issue, you should do a minimum effort to read about it from multiple sources. e.g. for American politics, I found that the quickest way to gauge where an issue stands is by reading at least CNN and Fox, because they are diametrically opposed, so you can kind of guess where the middle ground is. Reading more neutral and informed pieces could come later on, if I really want to dive in.
This is a powerful concept. When I studied yogic philosophy, the teacher pointed out how our language biases us towards identification.
"I am hungry" in English reads like a statement of identity, whereas "j'ai faim" in French for example means "I HAVE a hunger". The hunger exists but it doesn't define my identity.
This identification is a lie. If you stop drinking coffee and start drinking tea, you are still 100% you, plus you have evolved (whatever information caused you to switch your preference must be new to you)
This gets into self limitation very quickly. "I AM bad at public speaking" means you don't try. "I don't HAVE public speaking skills" leaves room for choice to improve.
There are a few things that are core values to who you really are. Those are important. Your choice of beverage isn't.
>This identification is a lie. If you stop drinking coffee and start drinking tea, you are still 100% you,
Your analysis of "I am hungry" is incorrect. In this case, the "am" is acting as a linking word and not about identity. See:
Or put another way, "I am hungry" can be thought of as a shortened version of "I am [currently having feelings of] hunger". If the more verbose sentence is not about identity but sensation, the shortened version is expressing the same idea.
"I am sad" absolutely should use a different word than "I am from California," and English gets it wrong by combining the two.
As an aside (not not saying you were doing this btw) whenever there's an analogy, some percentage of people will try to argue the analogy directly rather than try to understand the concept it's attempting to communicate.
You may label yourself as an "intelligent person" or a "hacker". Other people might choose to label themselves as a "dog person". It doesn't matter what the labels are. Everybody has to choose some number of labels and stick to them, at least for a while. The labels are what allow people to accomplish social tasks and form societies built on trust.
Keeping your identity small by using few labels is good advice. But it's important to recognize that the labels are like an oil that keeps the machine of society running
Rather than label one's self (or others) as "intelligent", one can think in terms of they are a person who takes time to be thoughtful/analytical/measured/takes tim to view all sides of a situation.
Rather than think "I am a hacker", one can realize that they mean hacker as a shortcut (label) to mean they engage in DIY projects, or like to ae software, or like to automate things, or like to deconstruct software to find vulnerabilities, or like to deconstruct technology to use it for originally unintended purposes.
Labels are convenient and useful but it is important to realize they are only a shorthand and that they can cause confusion or hurt as much as they help.
This is biologically preconditioned. We have brain wiring for identifying "Us" and "Them".
BigThink put up a compilation video  on this topic.
 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=14XSzWT4vI0
Edit: So it's a cultural rather than biological precondition. ( If a precondition at all. )
For us being able to develop and change Ego and Alter, we need to have the mental capability for doing so. Which we obviously have, physically.
Both Ego and Alter can and do change heavily through life, and thus are strongly affected by culture, socialization etc. They can't change unbridled, though: There are multiple facettes of personality that are pretty stable over time (like in the Big Five model), ignoring traumata etc. And there are limits to our mental capabilities, just like there are for reasoning and other aspects of mind.
So, within the pysical borders our bodies give us, Ego and Alter can develop quite freely, heavily mediated by culture.
This is why I hate "-ism"/"-ists"-labels, because everyone seems to have a different opinion of what particular "-ism" words means. To use an example, Bernie Sanders' "socialism" is about sharing the wealth, meanwhile a lot of his opponents would argue because of the same word, it means he wants to install a Chinese-style dictatorship, or even worse, since it's a word that comes up in "Nazi", this style of fascism is also what Bernie wants.
If someone says they're a Black Live Matters supporter, depending on your leanings you might perceive them as wanting more social justice, or as a sympathizer of gangs that burned local businesses. I suppose, then you can decide whether you trust them or not. The problem is, they're probably not an anarchist that likes burning buildings, but your classification might have put them in that box in your mind, and since you disagree with anarchism (oh, look, another -ism), you conclude dialog with that person is impossible, just because they identified themselves as something...
Sometimes I want this effect so I can help change impressions. Like: furry and nonbinary. The goal then is to help bridge the gap between stereotype and the real human variety contained by those words.
After thousands of years of exactly the reverse, that's rather rich, don't you think?
The vast majority of atheists would be perfectly happy to be left alone to their own devices. But in the United States at least, they are considered second-class citizens.
If someone is so biased that they become angry at the simple mention of a very abstract philosophical stance like atheism, is it really a good idea to placate them by pretending you are something else?
I'm not sure what you mean by abstract here: does the idea of a very abstract philosophical stance that it has no (or little) effect on other people or the world?
There was no placation. I like effective communication. They accepted me well enough once I chose to really say who I was rather than lean on inaccurate labels.
Sheer scale. There’s so many of us, and everyone is mostly replaceable. Not just in the economy, but in everything.
The identity is the one flag in the ground that screams ‘I stand for something’. I’m upset at myself and everyone for bringing back high school into our adult world. The book bags adorned with band stickers, the clothes, the cliques, all making it clear in a superficial way ‘this is who I am’. Like a generation of adult Goth kids - we fucking get it.
It just seems like we have to grow up, over and over.
I think pg actually has another article (can't find it now) where he discusses hacking identity to ingrain positive behaviors. For example making "I'm a 3 workouts/week person" part of your identity. If that's you, skipping a day in the gym is a serious blow to your identity and self-image. It worked for me.
True. But one can become less attached to their identity and learn to be more fluid and less rigid about it. Thinking in terms of what one does, rather than what they are, seems helpful to me.
Identity is even a dominant political trend in itself. "Identity politics".
I agree with the premise of the post. I just cannot see how it can be done. I think it's better to learn to accept differences gracefully rather than minimizing the identity surface. It's also my way to test people and communities. Try to disagree on something they consider basic. They way they'll treat you shows who they really are.
Learning to think and communicate in terms of what people and things do rather than labels, i.e. what they are, has been helpful for me.
“The specific political distinction to which political actions and motives can be reduced is that between friend and enemy.”
It is much easier to identity as broadly one wing or the other, so I will tend to vote one way even if some of my party's policies are terrible and some of the oppositions are great.
From a sales perspective it becomes phrasing: “This will cost you $5,000 over the next 3 years if you don’t buy.”
Vs “You will save $5,000...”
People purchase something like 60% more often when using the fear inducing “cost you” phrasing.
From a political standpoint, everything is driven by creating fear of the other party.
Did you know that Republicans are all racist bigots who want you to be poor?
Did you know that Democrats are all lazy, naive communists who want to control everyone’s lives and will bankrupt the entire country while taking away your guns so you can’t protect your family?
Did you know Libertarians are all anarchists who want complete every man for himself chaos with no roads?
It’s always “fear of other” marketing.
IMO, not enough meditation or psychedelic use.
On his podcast sometime this year, Sam Harris said something to the effect of "Why am I so sure that we are capable of moving past these politics of identity? That one does not have to so strongly, or at all, identify with their gender or race or country? Because I know that one does not even have to identify with the face that stares back at them in the mirror."
This is a large part of the benefits of meditation and psychedelic use. The dissolution of the ego, the relinquishment of the seemingly strictly intertwined brain and body, the expansion of the consciousness beyond the self. Whether these experiences are actual reality or simply temporary perceptual illusions is somewhat immaterial to the benefits gained - namely a much more zen and less identity fraught mental modus operandi.
I have a slightly different view of ego though. For me ego is a tool that no doubt had some evolutionary purpose. When my "ego is pumped" I tend to be highly active, motivated, confident and able to solve problems (or hunt for food in evolutionary terms) but once those problems are solved, the ego can be discarded for a time.
From doing stand-up comedy, when you "bomb" (the audience doesn't laugh) it's extremely traumatic for the ego. I look at it now that afterwards I need to "reboot my ego" and in doing so, some ideas or things that I saw as part of my identity get discarded in the process. At this point, having bombed quite a few times, it feels like an accelerated learning process and it becomes less traumatic the less invested I am in my identity.
Meanwhile - connected to the article - what's interesting to me is I think most people have a "tell" (poker term) when they are over-invested in some identity or idea, and that's when they say "I believe X" or "I believe Y". In my experience that's an indicator that they have accepted some conclusion or point of view, without having examined all the evidence that makes the conclusion valid. I think we'd do better with encouraging people to say "I don't know" more often than "I believe" e.g. "What happens after we die?" ... "I don't know" seems better than "I believe we go to Heaven"
"Because I know that one does not even have to identify with the face that stares back at them in the mirror"
But in my experience, this would be the point, where psychonauts start loosing the connection to physical reality.
Because sure, my face is not my identity. But it reflects very strongly my physical identity/reality.
So if your mind does not make a connection with the face it sees in the mirror, then I would start to worry, as then your mind and body is already quite seperated.
Writing helps sometimes, specially at late night when you begin to lose taboos and feel more talk-ative.
I think that was a better example in 2009.
"More generally, you can have a fruitful discussion about a topic only if it doesn't engage the identities of any of the participants."
Is that true? I really don't think it is. I could definitely have a fruitful (as precise as that can be) conversation with a Christian about religion or a "proud Black man" about race in America. Or even learn a thing or two about programming from a lisp evangelist...
I liked this essay at first, but when I read it more critically it doesn't hold up. It at first seemed to preach non-attachment. Now I feel like it's just an excuse for me to tune you out whenever I decide your identity has been engaged by the topic.
This is anecdotal, but I've also found that people who bring up those sorts of identity issues when you don't know them well aren't usually looking to engage with someone who disagrees. They're looking to see if you belong to the same tribe. If you do, it's an opportunity to bond.
If you care to question any aspect of something that comprises part of someone's identity, then it can easily be perceived as a personal attack on that individual, and discussions where one person believes they are being personally insulted by the other are rarely fruitful.
I don't think it's healthy conversation to "question" what someone [you have just met] is saying in any circumstances.
Questioning without having a developed background and context is a polite way of calling them a liar, isn't it?
"Oh, I haven't experienced that" is less confrontational - you are not expected to have experienced it if you don't hold the same identity.
If the conclusions someone draws for one of these things are based on what they consider their identity, they may be very resistant to hear any contrary opinions.
A healthy (or fruitful) discussion should have room for reasonable disagreement about the meanings and implications of what one has personally experienced. You need not deny the reality of someone’s experience to draw a different conclusion from it than they do.
Yes, it's hard to challenge things you think are core to your identity, but that doesn't mean it's impossible, and it's easier to do so if you're surrounded by people you know will care about you which ever identity you choose.
> Is that true?
I don't think so, but it approaches a truth. You can have a fruitful discussion about a topic only if it doesn't engage the identities of any two or more of the participants in areas where they have fundamental and intractable conflict.
But even this requires a very specific definition of “engage”. Its not just a matter of having overlap with content of the identity, but provoking a defensive, identity-based response. There are people who can converse around identity-related issues without their identity being engaged.
Or as this Bertrand Russel quote :
“What is wanted is not the will to believe, but the will to find out, which is the exact opposite.”
Has Paul never actually read HN or any JS discussion online? Or any forum, really?
Case study: my wife, who enjoys spinning wool, watched a (metaphorical) knock-down, drag-out argument about sheep variations on a spinning forum. Just before a user was banned, it had devolved into some very creative swearing and threats to kill sheep in another poster's geographic area.
> Has Paul never actually read HN or any JS discussion online? Or any forum, really?
Yeah, this is one of those things that I cannot imagine anyone having sufficient experience with religious discussions online to make the initial observation also having so little experience with discussing literally anything else online to suggest that it was somehow unique to religion.
I mean, there's a reason Godwin's Law is scoped to online discussions generally, not any particular subject matter.
The reason the in-fighting is so viscous is because the stakes are so low.
When you're on the outside it seems very trivial; when you're on the inside it's the most important thing in your world.
The only exception is for claims so dumb ("the time complexity of mergesort is O(n), the earth is flat, 1+1=5") that anything at all directly contradicts them.
Tertiary sources are often reporting on secondary sources: The NYT reports on something that WaPo reports on. Any mistakes or biases present in the secondary source may be amplified & added to. I never read reporting about someone else's reporting without seeking out that first reports. At best, tertiary sources should be taken as commentary/opinion/interpretation.
Non-primary sources are for when you want something explained to you in non-jargon terms or a TL;DR, or you want an expert's opinion on the primary sources etc. A medical study comes out about hear disease, and you want a cardiologist's assessment of the study. Even then, you need to understand who the cardiologist is. The average cardiologist may not be a great source: There are levels of expertise within any community, and I want someone who is at the top of the field. I don't want the average cardiologist's opinion.
The problem is that no one has time to track down primary sources for everything they read/see/hear, or the level of knowledge to evaluate it. I'm fascinated by quantum computing, but I have no chance of understanding primary source research there. I have no choice but to rely on a secondary source or, if possible, the researchers themselves giving a higher level TL;DR.
My rule of thumb is that, absent prior knowledge of bias/agenda/ill-intent, I skeptically take what people say at face value but don't accept it into my own views/opinions/etc unless I've done some digging of my own. If I'm not capable (e.g. quantum physics) of doing that, I simply try harder to get a variety of expert opinions, and avoid presenting anything I say/think as anything other than an outsider's imperfect understanding.
Too bad we have that political class, anyway, along with regular people who believe politics should be inaccessible to regular people.
This is simply factually untrue. The Articles of Confederation, and Constitution were written by and for the political class, and each addressed the immediate concerns of the political class (much narrower than the also narrow enfranchised class) at the time it was drafted and in the domain to which it was addressed. The Declaration was drafted by and for the needs of the same class but tangentially directed at the public in the US as a propaganda document, but it was even more directed at the British political class to create pressure for an immediate accommodation of the American political class (a task at which therr are some signs it might have succeeded had events on the ground not spiralled out of control as quickly as they did.)
The existence of a massive political propaganda effort to sell the document to the enfranchised class of a particular state (broader than the elite political class but narrower than regular people) does not prove (indeed, if anything argues against the conclusion) that the document itself was intended to be understandable too and responsive to the interests of even the enfranchised class, much less regular people.
You're skipping over the fact that only property owning white men were initially allowed to vote.
That was the group which expected to gain political power from the Declaration and Constitution - that was the target audience.
Defining "regular people" has a fraught history in the USA.
You've changed the discussion from the intended simplicity of politics to an argument about who was allowed to vote. In some ways, this type of strawman is similar to the types of arguments that create difficulties and barriers with present day politics.
I was disagreeing directly with your point that this was intended to be simple, or for "regular people". I contend that it wasn't any of this - it was intended to enrich a room-full of people with the support of wealthy elites. The immediate effect was to shift power only slightly, and not in the direction of regular people. How is that a strawman, please?
From Wikipedia: "The language of the concluding endorsement... was made intentionally ambiguous in hopes of winning over the votes of dissenting delegates" - the exact opposite of your claim.
> this type of strawman is similar to the types of arguments that create difficulties and barriers with present day politics.
You are pretending that the endorsement actually had anything to do with the text of the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution. I assume the endorsement you are plucking a reference to is, "Done in convention by the unanimous consent of the states present". You didn't mention it, so your statement isn't clear.
Thanks for your time, but I have no interest in discussing side arguments further and further from my point about politics being simple, where anyone can be involved.
Yet they didn't provide for direct democracy, enfranchised only part of the population, took the highest political offices for themselves, ect. Look at the first 5 presidents, Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe. These were not some common guys off the street. These were the political elites of Colonial England and then early America.
If anything, the barriers appear to me to be greater.
See George Washington's retirement speech:
That's why we have a tradition of presidents only serving a maximum of two terms; which we only turned into a law when the tradition was violated.
What's why? I skimmed that link, couldn't see a reference to two terms, maybe I missed it.
Maybe this is close to the truth:
"Surprisingly, many of the Framers—including [Alexander] Hamilton and [James] Madison—supported a lifetime appointment for presidents selected by Congress and not elected by the people,” the [National Constitution Center] writes. “That would have made the presidency what Virginia’s George Mason called an ‘elective monarchy,’ however, and when this was put to a vote it failed by only six votes to four."
Instead, they devised a complicated voting system involving the electoral college that would still ensure, as the framers desired, that presidential elections were not solely in the hands of ordinary voters. Within this system, they shortened a president’s appointment from life to four years. And because most of the framers didn’t want to set a limit on how many four-year terms a president could serve, they didn’t say anything about it in the Constitution.
Nevertheless, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson ended up setting a two-term precedent. Washington declined to run a third time, but did clarify that he would’ve if he felt he was needed. Jefferson, on the other hand, specifically thought that two terms was enough for one person, and that more might overextend executive power. After these presidents, two terms became the unofficial standard.
That is, until FDR broke tradition by winning elections in 1932, 1936, 1940, and 1944.
> There are certainly some political questions that have definite answers, like how much a new government policy will cost.
Well sure, how much a new government policy will cost does have an answer. It's not knowable before you implemenent the policy. I bet you there's someone in this thread that will argue, with facts, that a $15 minimum wage will boost the economy and increase tax revenue. I bet there's someone who can argue the reverse. I bet both sides will be able to cite both partisan and "non-partisan" organisations to back up their argument.
I'm not sure what PG was saying there was true in 2009 (post Obamacare) but certainly it doesn't hold up now.
I also don't think that intransigent discussion on the issue would be the result of threatening identities, but instead based on people's values and assumptions about human nature which largely cannot be definitively proven right or wing.
This translates into code too - there are people I'm not going to argue with about their code, because I value simplicity and velocity in development whilst they're far more interested in optimizing every single line to the nth degree. I think what they're doing is bad engineering, but I'm not going to change their value system.
Heck, while HN is by no means perfect, the ability of people here an HN to do just that is what makes HN a step above many other online forums. This stuff isn't impossible, it's just not easy. On HN it takes awareness of and reminders about the community norms. People point out in replies that a parent post did not need to shift it's tone a certain way or level a personal attack. I frequently see posts voted down that express opinions that I know plenty of HN'ers agree with because their method of expression was disruptive to productive conversation. I'm as likely to downvote such comments as I am to upvote well reasoned comments that express something I disagree with.
I make mistakes on it too, and have been called out. I take a step back, consider it, and if the accusation fits then I apologize and resolve to do better. It's a group effort.
Liberal values used to mean being tolerant of different view points, being open minded, being kind, respectful, and being aware of the dangers of censorship. We were given banned books to read (e.g. To Kill a Mockingbird). It makes me sad that, as a society, we seem to be losing such values.
I believe it's reasonable for someone to hold to what they already know regardless of arguments to the contrary if the consequences of accepting the argument seem unacceptable.
At the time Descartes was a prominent mathematician of his time with significant following, heavily invested into his reputation and status.
After a certain dispute, where Fermat shed doubt on a work by Descartes, the prominent mathematician grew annoyed and tried to discredit Fermat. The only problem was Fermat's disinterest in his status - how exactly does one destroy a reputation of a provincial clerk and father of eight, who does math as a hobby?
For example if you are an immigrant, based on your home country, you may have an identity assigned to you by the destination society even if it isn’t factual. You might ignore it and remind yourself not to care too much about it (try to keep your identity small) but when you have a harder time finding an apartment even when you’re qualified compared to a local, you won’t be able to ignore it anymore. Or if you support a certain president because of economic policy you’re assumed to be racist by some other group of people who might start to treat you like one.
You don’t always have the luxury and I think this is a big point missing from the article.
How do you go about your life knowing that some sizable portion of it identifies you in a way that affects you negatively?
In a minor way I've struggled with this myself over the past few years. Best advice I've come across is to use the stoic dichotomy of control guide me: Some things are in our control, other things are not. Focus on those things you can control. Pay no heed to those you can't. If something seems like a mix of both it can be further broken down into those two.
I think this is a good way to deal with the issue; they shouldn't be ignored. However it's challenging as you mentioned there are differences. It is not even feasible to merely ignore them if they happen to you and that's exactly my point here. You cannot presumably ignore them and "keep it small" as easily as the author suggests.
Edit: I say this as someone who greatly values a culture where social identies are self selected (or nor ;-) as well as mutable.
PG has spent the majority of his adult life promoting the "hacker" identity and forming communities for such people. A bit rich for him to tell others to put their identity back into their box because strongly believing in the merits of a particular religious belief, political cause or cultural identity turns out to create more conflict than strongly believing in solving problems with software
I'd suggest another guideline: keep your claims falsifiable.
The most heated online discussions I've witnessed have been around non-falsifiable claims. These discussions may offer an adrenaline rush for the participant, but not much else. Minds don't change in these discussions. Quite the opposite.
However, topics like religion are noteworthy in that none of the claims are falsifiable. Lots of political discussions (the more heated kind especially) deal in non-falsifiable claims.
So what we end up having is person A saying "we should get rid of ABC, it causes XYZ!", and person B says "ABC is amazing! Everyone should have ABC! The XYZ claim is overblown conspiracy", both opinions are very strong. But they don't agree on whether ABC causes XYZ. Before an intelligent conversation happens, the basis in fact has to be agreed upon.
This is basically impossible with non-falsifiable claims. But non-falsifiable claims generally means "there is no evidence for it". Because if a claim relies on evidence, then it is by default falsifiable. Show the evidence is wrong, and the claim disappears.
If there is no evidence... they didn't come to their beliefs through evidence. They came through some other means. Find out THOSE reasons, and you can have a fruitful discussion.
I've had plenty of fruitful discussions about politics just as I have about religion. The key in both cases is finding that reasoning. In both cases that reasoning is almost never the topic at hand. Don't start a political conversation with slavery. Start it with... idk... maybe what news outlets they pay attention to.
This is largely a consequence of the Protestant ecclesiology that dominates Anglo-Saxon culture, which in turn dominates online discourse.
It's a surprisingly difficult topic to deal with in discreet analytical terms, so I suggest avoiding disagreeing with definitional points and looking to the wider picture. Don't quibble, fix it instead.
NOTES ON NATIONALISM https://www.orwellfoundation.com/the-orwell-foundation/orwel...
While I’m center-left, I've found it extremely important to be a social gadfly as I’ve become older.
Challenge the assumptions and things we hold sacred, because there are often disturbing contradictions and conclusions lurking; and we don’t really know much at all.
As the author implied, there isn’t a way to punch a hole through the emotional investment.
It brings out the absolute worst in otherwise extremely intelligent people. Absolutely visceral reactions.
Keep your Identity Small (2009) - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16454591 - Feb 2018 (110 comments)
Keep your identity small (2009) - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11732970 - May 2016 (153 comments)
Keep Your Identity Small (2009) - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6171790 - Aug 2013 (90 comments)
Keep Your Identity Small - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=471660 - Feb 2009 (253 comments)
I don't think its a problem of one's own identify but rather the role one plays with it's own motivations in that given context.
Also, there are now so many bot accounts that many times I am wondering if the discussing is happening with a real person.
You have no idea how someone might misinterpret something you said, or believe in.
It could be a future employer, client, divorce lawyer, Lawyer collecting a judgment, business partner, investor, future friend, nosey neighbor wondering in you have a permit, disgruntled former lover, etc.
If you are a rich guy like PG, it really doesn't matter what you put out there, but for guys like myself; I stay anonymous.
I think what PG is saying will be more important in the future.
the thing is, that those people speaking from identity have an actual experience with the topic - biased or not.
so you may not want to exclude them, so I guess the solution is - get mature participants?
examples: If I received 1 cent for every read that .NET is Windows only in last 2 years I'd have like 4 cents.
I've always liked "holy wars" between Java and C# because those were often between people who were deeply into their stack and you could learn a lot.
"In our world...it is difficult for the individual to reinforce the individuality of the self...There are two methods for cultivating the uniqueness of the self: ...addition ...and subtraction.
Let me put it another way: a mere love for showers can become an attribute of the self only on condition that we let the world know we are ready to fight for it."
(Part 3 > Addition and subtraction - Pages 111, 113; Faber & Faber edition, 1991)
If you find Kundera's words make sense, then while PG may be logically correct, the impulse to add to identity is rooted in our own pride. It will not be easily beat: 'the sin of pride' (nowadays called egotism) is a strong, persistent force, that we have always struggled to hold in check, but has followed Man as closely as a shadow - which it may be said to be. It could even be seen as a shadow in the sense used in a 'Wizard of Earthsea', where the shadow is a threat, with its own intent.
Not only by reducing pointless religious and political flame wars, but also the vast amount of anxiety and depression based around identity (whether my identity is good enough), social distrust and antagonism from identifying as this group vs that group, etc.
Not an easy path, and these ideas have been around for 3000 years without seemingly making much impact in society at large - but one can hope :)
That is definitely not true. Say, I identify as male. It's a part of my identity. Not only can I discuss it in a civilized way, I'm also curious to learn and discover how the concept of masculinity evolved over the ages, how the society conditions males into their roles and so on. It's not identity that counts here but openness to explore and learn.
I definitely disagree. Sure, you can have an estimation of how much the new bureaucracy will cost in the short run, but you can never predict the second-order effects with certainty and disagreement about these is usually the actual conflict. The discussion is easier on some issues than others, sure, but I don't think you can predict any with any reasonable certainty.
It can get even more complicated when your new policy leads to large projects, many large, multi-year projects have certain assumptions baked into them which can turn out to be wrong. Years ago I was a minor participant in a root cause analysis for a government program that lasted 10 years and went way over budget. Our biggest finding was that the assumptions made when budgeting this project turned out to be incorrect and far too optimistic. These assumptions were actually fairly reasonable at the time they were made though.
It turns out that discussions have often nothing to do with identity, and a lot with depth of knowledge and depth of conviction. Shallow knowledge & deep convictions are what leads to disaster.
Maybe it's not labels, but the desire to position yourself as an expert, even if you don't really understand the problem.
All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms;
And then the whining school-boy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress’ eyebrow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths, and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon’s mouth. And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lin’d,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances;
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slipper’d pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side;
His youthful hose, well sav’d, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion;
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.
The genesis of imposter syndrome. I am the role that I play, and if not, than what am I.
It’s a odd thing to realize that these simple digital avatars tech created would be the Roman/Greek/Egyptian god we pray to. At the altar of ourselves.
Edit: Good post by PG, he’s getting more in touch with what’s wrong.
“You will never be able to reach your full potential until you first confront your deep-seated fear of success! Now get into the bag.”
I spent most of my life shielding myself from admitting I’m queer, and nearly all of it shielding myself from admitting I’m non-binary and admitting I’m autistic, using this logic.
That didn’t prevent conflict, it just made it harder for me to navigate and almost certainly harder for people who mean well toward me to navigate as well.
My identity keeps growing and it only gets better for me and the people I keep in my life.
It’s the small stuff like considering yourself a Pepsi drinker that causes needless conflict. People buying bandaids have preferences, but it’s not something you’re going to argue about on the internet in all caps.
You wouldn't know I'm nonbinary from looking at me because I look like any dude walking around with clothes plucked out of the closet at random. Presentation is just not a huge part of the identity to me, even though the stereotype is that presentation is everything.
Which isn’t to say I haven’t had my fair share of exploring non-gender-norm presentation. It just doesn’t matter that much to me other than what feels good for me at the time.
To a stranger’s eye, I present he/him. I have a big beard and a shaved head, im tall with broad shoulders. And I’m not at all motivated to challenge that perception (to the point my preferred pronouns are he/him/they/them and when I came out NB to friends and family I made it clear I don’t expect to be addressed differently).
What was important for me was acknowledging that I never felt any attachment to that he/him perception, except the painful part of navigating other people’s expectations not matching my reality.
I don't even know how to take this seriously. I'll give you the benefit of the doubt if you want to clarify, as it seems like you don't want to minimize the big stuff, but... this feels like that.
- - -
Edit: it’s entirely possible people who don’t identify with these just don’t understand how huge they are for people who do. Which is part of what I found so offputting in the article’s examples.
It’s also possible I really substantively don’t understand what is “identity” to you or anyone else who thinks these are small or not aspects of identity.
If that’s the case, I’m having trouble filling in the blanks. Name? Family lineage? Job title? Work history? Relationship status?
Importance isn’t the same thing as taking up a large fraction of your identity. Suppose you wrote an autobiography, the big stuff like age, religion, or sexual orientation are shared with millions of people. They have huge impacts, but the details are going to be stuff like past partners not simply repeating “I am Bi” for hundreds of pages.
Height is a great example, being 7’ tall, 4’, or even 5’ 10” all impact on every moment of your life. The language(s) you speak, the county you live in, having or not having every significant disease or disability. Education is another big one being a Dr. or a high school dropout again makes a huge difference but again isn’t on it’s own what separates you from everyone else.
You’re taking important/big to you and projecting it on me. You’re insisting that the things about my identity that I consider big are small.
I could almost understand if you don’t fully appreciate the impact of discovering one’s sexuality and gender feels like. But you’ve included autism as small, and that suggests either you’re really ignorant of what that entails or, like so many other “big” things you listed you just don’t see how they intersect?
Either way it feels dismissive as hell. What’s small to you isn’t to me. If that doesn’t speak to identity than what does?
Storing the pattern of your palm print takes up more space than a listing most peoples current bank account balances. People generally care a lot more about bank accounts than palm prints, but that doesn’t mean they take up a lot of space. As such palm prints are literally a larger part of your identity than your bank account balance.
How so? Your example doesn’t make this clear as I can’t relate those things to the actual parts of my identity you’re addressing.
Tell me more detail about how small my queerness, NBness and neurodivergence are.
Except not every word fits into sexual identity. If you where listing every person on earth let’s be generous and call it 10,000 options for sexual identity or ~15 bits of information.
> I spent most of my life shielding myself from admitting I’m queer, and nearly all of it shielding myself from admitting I’m non-binary and admitting I’m autistic, using this logic.
You really think there isn’t more to shape me, to who I am and what shaped and continues to me, than what I described here? You really think the kinds of pain I described in responses from the process that led to these recognitions about myself are low information?
You’re talking to me like my life and my self is distilled down to the words I’ve written in a HN comment thread.
Honestly this isn’t worth my time. Go dismiss yourself.
This is not an advice to hide the key elements of your identity. Instead, it's an advice to concentrate on them, and protect them with the energy you saved by not wasting it on petty issues.
It led with two aspects that people almost universally identify deeply with, both of which are matters of life and death (politics by the subject matter involved and sometimes affiliation, religion even more times by affiliation) and whole moral constructs for life and afterlife. Those are not petty, they're just easily dismissed by people who can address or dismiss them casually.
I can respect that "all other things being equal" does not hold here. There are always tradeoffs. But there are real benefits to not identifying with things (as the essay discusses).
I’m not asking you to respect whether something in some article addresses my identity. I’m telling you I know what it is.
It’s not a balance of tradeoffs. It’s not available for scrutiny by an essay by Paul, or comments from you or anyone.
My contention with the article was that giving myself permission to let my identity expand to include things I hadn’t helped me begin to reckon with the pain of keeping my identity minimal, denying really important things about myself and hurting in the process.
The majority of the responses I’ve gotten have suggested that I should not let those be a part of my identity or have minimized their importance.
I cannot understand why. Why is it in your interest or anyone’s to tell me whether being queer, or non-binary, or autistic should not factor into who I am? Why do you or anyone get to decide whether any of those things should be important parts of me?
Why is it anyone’s business but my own? The only “conflict” here has been people scrutinizing the validity of my identity as I express it.
Because a society where we can have less partisan opinions and more fruitful discussions is a better one.
But I'm not attacking you, and I don't think most of the other commenters are, either. You expressed a disagreement with its thesis and explained how identity has been useful to you. I just pointed out that perhaps there is a way to achieve the same goals without expanding your identity. I was trying to have a discussion about the essay. But it appears I misunderstood, and you did not actually wish to engage in a discussion, so I will stop here :)
> Because a society where we can have less partisan opinions and more fruitful discussions is a better one.
Okay. What is partisan about me being queer or non-binary or autistic, other than those are immutable facets of me that either people hate or callously disregard?
Right now having a group with commonality and a sense of belonging is very important and a huge improvement on where we were before leaving people isolated and alone. But don't lose sight of the end goal, which is for those problems that having a group identity protects against not existing at all. Those two things aren't in conflict, other comments here really are trying to be helpful, but in a theoretical physics sort of way that isn't going to help anyone directly in the next decade and ignores some practical hurdles we need to get over first.
The core of advice is to keep the identity _small_. That way I can pick my battles. The more labels I put on myself the more I will alienate other people. Each of those labels also means I'm not honest with myself. Label is just a single word for describing complex world views, preferences and emotions. If I attach this label to my personality, then over time I will also change myself to better fit it. It can also be source of frustration when I don't meet expectations that are set by any given label. For example, before I considered myself a bookworm and it was painful to discard this label from my identity as I found less and less time for reading.
Labels are still useful. They provide decent defaults for social interactions, and a sense of belonging. Birds of a feather flock together. It is too many labels that can be problematic, in a sense of crippling social interactions and turning them into ego duels. Again, this is just how my experience aligns with the article, and not at all scrutinizing _your_ identity.
It’s about identity. And specifically about rejecting expansion thereof. How could I not have personal feelings about it?
Sure, I can think of myself as bisexual instead, which I do. (tongue in cheek)
I can't speak for anyone else, but for me, bisexuality can't not be part of my identity. Like @eyelidlessness, it took a long time to come to the conclusion. It affects how others see me, how they treat me, if they'll date me, etc. It caused heartbreak, depression, and so on. These are all experiences that set me apart from most other people, whether I want them to or not. If that's not identity, I don't know what is. As one ages and settles down, these things can become less central to your identity, but they're still there and important. Stoicism is one thing, but dismissing the difficulties experienced when going against the grain in any area of life is wishful thinking.
I think Paul Graham could have gone one step further in his analysis. Identity is the combination of labels, community and emotion. Labels are very valuable tools as shortcuts in discussions. They can also lead to dissonance, when definitions don't align or context is missing.
The community aspect, especially in rainbow or mental health issues (not an exhaustive list), can be critical to well-being and survival. Could you find the same support network somewhere else? Yes, and plenty of people do, but that doesn't discount the value of the Pride movement or the Trevor project, for instance. The downside of community is it can evoke tribalistic tendencies.
What Graham seems to take issue with most is the emotional component of one's identity. What's relevant here is not whether you have emotions about your identity, but whether you can set them aside long enough to have a dispassionate discussion. It does require that participants have a healthy emotional baseline, are mature enough not to take everything personally and retain an open mind.
I feel it's also important to point out that there is a difference between having an identity and being an identitarian. You can be bisexual without being an activist. You can be an activist without going full woke and thinking of every interaction as power balances and oppression dynamics.
We can choose whether it becomes a central part of our lives, whether we need to surround ourselves with only like-minded people or whether we enter into discussions looking to be offended, be right or exchange ideas. In that sense, it's no different from having a political opinion, a profession, musical tastes, a hobby or anything else.
Realising/deciding that it wasn't actually important to me what sexuality people perceived me as eliminated a lot of stress and conflict, personally.
This term is totally nebulous. What it means to be the "same person but with different features" or a "different person" is just pure meaningless semantics.
And that is fine, but it doesn't mean it should be prescribed to everyone.
> Beware of Identity politics. I'll rephrase that: have nothing to do with identity politics. I remember very well the first time I heard the saying "The Personal Is Political". It began as a sort of reaction to defeats and downturns that followed 1968: a consolation prize, as you might say, for people who had missed that year. I knew in my bones that a truly Bad Idea had entered the discourse. Nor was I wrong. People began to stand up at meetings and orate about how they 'felt', not about what or how they thought, and about who they were rather than what (if anything) they had done or stood for. It became the replication in even less interesting form of the narcissism of the small difference, because each identity group begat its sub-groups and "specificities". This tendency has often been satirised—the overweight caucus of the Cherokee transgender disabled lesbian faction demands a hearing on its needs—but never satirised enough. You have to have seen it really happen. From a way of being radical it very swiftly became a way of being reactionary; the Clarence Thomas hearings demonstrated this to all but the most dense and boring and selfish, but then, it was the dense and boring and selfish who had always seen identity politics as their big chance. Anyway, what you swiftly realise if you peek over the wall of your own immediate neighbourhood or environment, and travel beyond it, is, first, that we have a huge surplus of people who wouldn't change anything about the way they were born, or the group they were born into, but second that "humanity" (and the idea of change) is best represented by those who have the wit not to think, or should I say feel, in this way.
Consider someone who is praying to God all their life. And you come and tell it's a sham. Even if you provide proof - accepting that means they were wrong all their life.
This is too much too handle.
So most people resort to sticking with their random identities.
Religion is important to people's identities for different reasons than politics. Religion influences people through philosophy, spiritualism, and salvation. People are opinionated about it because is an intrinsic function of religion to be unwavering.
Politics is different. It's possible to know a great deal about policy, and still hold unwavering ideological commitment to a side because you understand the consequences of policy. Political decisions create dynasties and destroy lives. People's literal survival hinges on the decisions of politicians, and in a Democracy we all have to play a part in what direction the machine goes.
Politics directly affects people day-to-day in a way that Religion never can. The largest problem I see is that people view politics through the lens of self-interest. One group may want lower taxes so that they can better use and save their income, while others may want higher taxes to fund welfare and provide a safety net from extreme poverty. Neither side cares about what the other side has to gain or lose, they only care about their side. So then we end up with nothing but bad faith BS and crappy compromises.
Politics is important. We should work harder to understand where our neighbors are coming from and find solutions that benefit the most people, not just our people. Discussing politics deeply and knocking down social taboos is a good thing, and we should do it more, not less.
Religion, on the other hand, is not so important to debate. We should respect people's individual religious beliefs, but we should also learn to keep our differences to ourselves because our varying religious and spiritual beliefs aren't really up for debate. What I believe or don't believe is of no consequence to anyone but me.
Something about this paragraph strikes me as very wrong, and I'll try to articulate why:
I would consider my values as part of my identity, and yet I'd like to think I can engage with someone else in a clear discussion that involves my values. I may have strong opinions about something, but that doesn't mean I'm unable to think clearly about it. I might even change my mind slightly about some thing or introduce nuance into an otherwise-strong opinion as a result of this discussion.
Furthermore, if values are part of one's identity, is Paul advocating that one should reduce one's set of values? This seems negative and possibly even dangerous.
One is that if you encounter someone who doesn't reflect your values, because you have made those values part of your core identity, you will react very emotionally to them.
The second is that many of the people that use commonly sited values as their identity often simply copy/paste them from the others - without actually questioning them themselves, and so are really more part of a trend than a unit of original thought.
I agree that it's important to have values, but I'd love to see more people tolerant of a diversity of belief systems than a monolithic intolerant mass psyche.
Personally, I don't spend a lot of time on identity, I just cultivate a practice of doing the best I can in the circumstances I'm in, as constrained by my limited knowledge and limited capacity. "Best" here is wildly subjective, of course, but that's kind of the point: I'm the arbiter of if I did the best I could in the circumstances, or if I was being self deceptive, or intolerably lazy or selfish or whatever.
That's not to say you couldn't tease out a value set that I'm acting out - I favor being kind and honest in most circumstances, but on rare occasions targeted, constrained cruelty is a useful and moral tool. Identifying with a particular thing gets in the way of the sort of contextual, thoughtful morality that enables thoughtful action.
The problem is, our society condones false identities. A true fifth column of lost souls.
This is also somewhat the root of representative government. Not many have the time or talent to really deeply understand these difficult issues and this is why we elect folks to do this for us. Imagine how much chaos would exist in a government where it is a true democracy and everyone's 2" deep opinion counts.
A small tweak in the US we could all get behind is term limits for congress.
This is the problem, not that people have identities (its better to have the biggest possible), but that they reduce themselves and others not just to their identities but also all identities in general to two types, this is probably very local to the US but its spreading.
It takes a certain level of privilege to be free from "identity" constraints; put differently, the advice in this bit is FAR easier said than done for many.
I call these motivational fallacies.
They're not logical fallacies as there's no direct text one can point to as fallacious.
But they're still obstacles to finding the truth.
Regarding those topics, anybody who discusses them publicly is by definition not an expert.
In order to learn about those topics, you'll need to ask some questions in private.
Have PG even visited HN? :'D
Improves the discourse for everyone imo
“that” being things that are not political or religious.
What vaccines and 5G have shown is that you do not need to be qualified to talk about a topic. A strong opinion about anything is what qualifies you to be an expert in 2021.
Based on that article and my memory, this is a phenomenon that has happened in the last 10 years. Why this may be the case is something I’m not sure of. There are some possibilities. Perhaps the rise of mainstream social media allowed everyone to find their people, which emboldened people with minority opinions. Or maybe rising income inequality is making people feel increasingly powerless and this influences them to assert themselves in areas outside of politics and religion.
I agree that it seems to be a new phenomenon and i think it's partly social media but also our tendency to be always online. We see so many headlines and hot takes that it feels like actual knowledge.
Political culture of the last few years also has something to do with it. Almost everything can be associated with a political faction now, 5G, vaccines, celebrity squabbles, ocean acidification, early human migration theories... Political culture bleeds out.
I'm not sure what you are trying to say really. But definitely victimhood is also a type of identity.
The self-congratulation will continue, until society improves.
This whole time I thought I was a plucky immigrant seeking a better life (economically). Turns out I was and am just white. Still grappling with this.
Learning your identity was wrong is very discombobulating. On some level it feels like maybe I've been here long enough that I've become accepted? Nobody ever asks "Where are you from?" anymore ... guess working on my accent finally paid off.
Friends have repeatedly told me I'm not allowed to complain or comment because "I can pass". Feels like if that were true I wouldn't need to pass, but when I ask that question it's like their brain gets a blue screen.
Anyway, just sharing one person's experience. This is not commentary, a value judgement, or anything like that.
Ironically, this seems to come from highly educated individuals whom I suspect have never 1) been to a third world country, off the resort 2) lived in a financially struggling household 3) worked an honest day of manual labor ever.
Kibda got off in a rant there, but just wanted to say, fuck anyone who says "you can pass" when you say your an immigrant. If you want to call them out in language their indoctrinated brains can understand, say "are you denying my lived-experience?"
I suspect if you make your way closer to the midwest you will meet less of these people, and more people who treat you like just another person and couldn't give a fuck how you identify.
As someone that grew up somewhere in the midwest (which isn't as homogenous as is often implied) and then moved to a stereotypically left-leaning coastal city, this was perhaps true in certain circumstances but definitely not others. I wouldn't bother with smaller towns/villages outside of the largest metropolitan areas (that aren't university towns) unless you want to feel prejudiced by a racial identity that's imposed on you, and reminded of that on a daily basis, but the same is true of these smaller towns in most states as well as countries in the west, in my experience. It's a bit idealistic to say that people in the midwest care less about how you identify if there are instead more that impose their own identity on you.
But like yeah I mean I grew up in one town, lived 1 life, and im a member of the racial majority so take my words with a grain of salt I guess.
In that case, I probably will, unfortunately. The incidents I encountered directed at me almost never involved a witness who belonged to a racial majority, so if I had to guess you wouldn't have witnessed a representative number of them either. I suspect that's because most people are (thankfully) afraid of being seen as racist in public, so they're usually in a more one-on-one setting.
is programming the common denominator between them?
I mean yeah a lot of programmers fall into that catagory but no theres a plenty of people in all different professions (including blue collar professions) that fall into the catagory im describing
(I personally love this arrangement. I've seen it in several other cities, like London and Moscow.)
If they are working abroad with the intention of returning, then expatriate is the correct term.
1. Legally expatriated by a Nation/government. Removed from a nation's territory by decision of said nation.
2. Comission/Secondment abroad, where an employee of a government/company gets assigned to work abroad for a fixed period.
From what I gather the term expat has been appropriated in British-American circles, to somehow detach higher income immigrants from the 'immigrant' stigma. I think this became a de facto convention when Investment Banking and Retail Banks (in non english-speaking countries) started adopting the term 'expat' in customer branding, to target higher income immigrants.
If people are telling you that you can’t “complain or comment” on your experience.. I’d suggest questioning what kind of people you are calling your friends.
It’s because any such commenting is immediately seen in the context of the current social rights battles. Immigrant implies brown or hispanic in most people’s mind. Since I do not experience that sort of prejudice (supposedly), any complaining is immediately seen as “distracting”.
If one is opposed to, for example, the genocide of a people of some particular identity, then that strongly held position may itself be an identity, while another group holds as its identity the support of such genocide. One of these identities is essential to progress; the other is detrimental.
There is value in a moral identities, and likewise value in opposition to immoral identities. The difference is absolutely consequential, even though many people will fail discern on which side of the line they stand.